Australia’s collective spirit was the winner

2014-03-06 12:37

At the start of the series, Australian skipper Michael Clarke said the team that batted best will win the series.

Three matches, three weeks and 39 sessions later, it was the team that batted best, Australia, that won the series.

It was not just down to David Warner’s massive 543 runs in the series, which saw him score three centuries, including two in the final test, but Australia’s collective batting effort that really won the series for them.

Whenever a set batsman was dismissed, he was joined by another one and embarked on big partnerships that put pressure on the Proteas.

The pitches were not easy to bat on and deteriorated markedly as the games went on, which made fourth innings batting incredibly difficult.

It was down to South Africa’s famed stickability that they were able to bat for as long on the final day after looking down and out.

But the century count through the series is a massive indicator of how dominant Australia’s batting was.

Australia managed to score eight test centuries across the six innings as compared to South Africa’s measly three, which were scored in the same test.

Even when Australia lost in Port Elizabeth, Chris Rogers’ fourth innings century kept them afloat in that frenetic fourth innings when wickets fell around him.

When Australia piled up the first-innings’ hundreds, six of them to be exact, the Proteas could not respond.

South Africa’s top order could not withstand the fire power and skill of the Australian bowling line-up, which has proved it to be the best in the world.

Not at any stage did the South African opening partnership make more than 20 runs, setting the middle order back and exposing them to the new ball.

The now retired Graeme Smith averaged a poor 8.4 and Alviro Petersen had a series to forget except for the first innings 50 which kept the Australians at bay.

But with Smith gone, Petersen forms an important part of the top order and will earn a reprieve for the Sri Lanka tour.

The less said about the dropped catches, the better. Had the chances been taken, the series could have taken a different direction.

Australia was the better side throughout and must enjoy what comes their way.

There have been a side that has done well in South Africa and it will stay that way.

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